Illustration above: Camille Ronceray
Valérie is a craftswoman I am very proud to introduce, for many reasons. First, we live in the same village, Méré, a tiny village nearby Paris with three thousand inhabitants – so I am quite proud to value local know-how. Then, she is a very kind and easy-going person so it was very pleasant to spend some time with her. And, finally, I just love her work! She let me visit her workshop and we discussed topics such as authenticity and simplicity.
“I really like Japanese philosophy, Scandinavian lifestyle, simplicity and pure shapes. I do not really like complicated things. That’s when you get to see all the imperfections, all the flaws – when you make elaborated things, you can hide the flaws and people might not see them. The thing is: I am the one who is making the objects, so I do see them.” It seems like focusing on mastering the simplest and purest shapes also demands technical excellence. It also somehow forces one to look for the essentials.
Gathering and sharing
“When you get people to gather and share a tea, they are sharing much more than a mere tea”. So it is about creating moments and objects that can support these moments – moments rooted in the “here and now”.
“So, for me, it’s about having friends over, have beautiful tableware, tasty things to eat…”. Most of ceramics Valérie makes can be used during a meal: here is a teacup, here is a plate for sushi… It is about celebrating the foodies, too!
Ceramics in Japan
“In Japanese culture, you come across either like perfectly round, perfectly shaped crafts, or like super dented ceramics… actually, they are like artificially dented. I know a Japanese craftsman, he makes perfect ceramics and then he… hits them! [to deform them]. Anyone can give ceramics the shape they want to. That is what gives presence to each craft work.
So, that’s the trick!
I thought ceramics that looked a bit damaged and unique had to go through an authentic transformation process or a genuine and by-human-hand error in the making, in order to really feel magical. Maybe that is just another vision of simplicity and “natural” feeling!
Merci Valérie !
Find out more about Valérie’s work here: http://valerie-page.com/
The interview was initially carried out in French, in November 2017